Bachelor's degree

In Cambridge

Price on request


  • Type

    Bachelor's degree

  • Location


  • Start date

    Different dates available

Overview Music at Cambridge Over recent decades many of the most significant figures in British music have studied or taught at Cambridge: composers such as Alexander Goehr, Judith Weir and Thomas Adès; performers like Joanna MacGregor and Thomas Trotter; and conductors including John Eliot Gardiner, Christopher Hogwood and Edward Gardner. Our undergraduate course has a strong academic component, particularly focusing on history, analysis, composition (including screen and media composition) and performance, but also offering a range of other topics (see the course outline). Facilities and resources As well as providing a location for lectures, seminars and research activities, the modern Faculty building also houses: a professional concert hall (seating 500) an extensive library of music, books, periodicals and recordings a purpose-built studio music computing laboratories Students can borrow period instruments and make use of the Faculty’s Javanese gamelan. The Faculty organises a weekly Composers’ Workshop, open to all students, and also supports the New Music Ensemble’s work. In addition, the Faculty hosts several resident ensembles (the Endellion String Quartet, Britten Sinfonia and Academy of Ancient Music) which perform regularly and offer masterclasses, coaching and further composition workshops for students. These facilities and resources are complemented by the University Library and by the libraries, practice rooms and computer suites available in Colleges. College funds are available for instrumental or vocal lessons for those taking a performance course – support varies between Colleges so request details from individual Colleges. Additional course costs Students taking performance options will require instrumental/vocal teaching – please request details of costs from the Faculty of Music (see fact file, right) and contact individual Colleges for information about funds available to cover/contribute towards this....



Start date

Cambridge (Cambridgeshire )
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1 Trumpington Street, CB2 1QA

Start date

Different dates availableEnrolment now open

About this course

Entry Requirements

Typical offers require

A Level: A*AA
IB: 40-41 points, with 776 at Higher Level

For other qualifications, see our main Entrance requirements pages.

Course requirements

Required by all Colleges: no specific subjects
Required by some Colleges: A Level/IB Higher Level Music (ABRSM Grade 8 Theory may be accepted as a substitute at some Colleges)

All undergraduate admissions...

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  • IT
  • Music
  • Performance
  • Composition
  • Skills and Training
  • Teaching
  • Options
  • University

Course programme

Course Outline Music Course Outline

Teaching is provided through lectures, seminars and supervisions. In your first year, you can typically expect to have six lectures, three supervisions, and aural and keyboard skills classes each week. In later years, lectures decrease to make way for more seminar, small-group and one-to-one teaching.

Assessment takes place at the end of each year through written examinations; the submission of portfolios, compositions essays and dissertations; and through recitals.

Year 1 (Part IA)

The first year consists of three major components:

  • historical and critical studies – two and a half papers covering issues involved in understanding music and its relationship to society and culture. This includes the main historical developments of Western music from the medieval period to the present, and a selection of historical or contemporary case studies
  • tonal skills – two papers giving you a thorough technical grounding in music of the Western tonal tradition through the acquisition of basic harmonic skills at the keyboard, aural work, and writing music in a range of historical styles. This is a foundation for more advanced work in all musical fields
  • music analysis – one paper that gives you an understanding of what makes music work through hands-on familiarity with a range of styles. This creates a bridge between your work in historical and critical studies and in tonal skills

For your final half paper, you have the choice of giving a 15 minute recital, submitting an original composition, or writing an extended essay.

Year 2 (Part IB)

You take a further paper in each of the core Part IA areas (historical studies, analysis and applied tonal skills), which together take up half of your time.

For the remaining half, you choose three papers from a range of different topics. Subjects available change from year to year but normally include:

  • in-depth historical topics
  • jazz and popular music
  • ethnomusicology
  • notation
  • keyboard skills
  • music and science
  • performance studies (including recital)
  • composition
  • a dissertation of 5,000-7,000 words
Year 3 (Part II)

In the final year, you have even more choice. There are no compulsory papers – you choose six papers from a wide selection of options which reflect your own interests and which may also develop the skills and knowledge needed for your chosen career path. Examples of options available in recent years include:

  • advanced performance
  • a dissertation of 7,000-10,000 words
  • portfolios in analysis, composition and notation, and sources studies
  • Beethoven: the Late String Quartets
  • The Music of Miles Davis
  • Exploring Music Psychology
  • Fugue
  • Parisian Polyphony
  • The Music Industry in the Digital Age
  • Nationalism and Music in the Middle East
  • North Indian Classical Music
  • Latin American Music and the Politics of Representation
  • Mozart’s Figaro in Context
  • Boris Godunov and its Contexts
  • Perception and Performance

You can also work with individual staff members on your own projects, whether as an advanced performer, composer, historian, analyst, ethnomusicologist, or music scientist. In this way, while our course gives you the solid understanding of the subject which a music degree should guarantee, it also offers you the flexibility you need to prepare for life after Cambridge.

For further information about studying Music at the University of Cambridge see the Faculty of Music website.


Price on request